Friday March 2nd marks Carl Jacobsen’s 170th birthday with the opening of the exhibition, “From Buddha to the Baroque”. This lifts the veil from the brewing magnate’s unknown collections which contain many surprises. Admission on opening day will be free of charge.
It was with Carlsberg beer that Carl Jacobsen put Denmark on the world map but he was also a passionate collector of art. Today he is known especially for Northern Europe’s largest collection of ancient art, which can be seen at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.
With the exhibition ”From Buddha to the Baroque” the Glyptotek has been going through its own storage magazines and those of the National Gallery of Denmark, the National Museum of Denmark and the Thorvaldsen Museum on the hunt for Jacobsen’s hidden or forgotten treasures.
Now for the first time the public can experience examples of the full range of Jacobsen’s enormous collections under one roof. The exhibition will present more than 100 works, including statues of Buddha from Asia, Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, ancient Greek stone tools, medals and much, much more. Several of these collections have not been on view for a century: they are works of high quality, which, for the most part are unknown to the public. Among the treasures are a c 800 year-old Syrian “hand grenade”, a two-metre-high gilded statue of Buddha from Japan and the largest collection of obsidian blades outside Greece.
Carl Jacobsen bought his first work of art when he was only eight years old – a drawing by the Danish painter Martinus Rørbye. As a young man he began to buy paintings and sculpture, and in his last years he also developed a taste for Asian sculpture.
In the course of his life the art-loving Jacobsen left his mark on the city of Copenhagen in the form of The Little Mermaid, the decoration of the Botanical Gardens and the spire of Nikolaj Church.
For a time the collecting mania threatened to take over Jacobsen to such an extent that his wife began to worry that it would endanger their children’s inheritance. Although he would have liked to acquire works by the great masters such as Michelangelo and Raphael, on more than one occasion he bought works which were not what he believed them to be. These included a costly Rembrandt, which turned out not to be a Rembrandt at all.
Experience the stories and see it all at the exhibition, which offers a more nuanced picture of the collector, patron of the arts and brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen.
Learn more about the brewing magnate as collector on the Glyptotek’s homepage.
In conjunction with the exhibition a catalogue will be published ”Buddha, barok & bryggeren – Carl Jacobsens ukendte samlinger”, Meddelelser fra Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Ny serie nr. 14 2012, 228 pages, profusely illustrated. Published in Danish. Price: 150 kr. Available from the museum’s art bookshop.
To mark the occasion of Carl Jacobsen’s 170th birthday admission to the museum will be free on Friday 2nd March.
The press will be very welcome to join us at the opening of “From Buddha to the Baroque” on Thursday 1st March at 5.30 p.m.
The exhibition has been realised with support from the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation and S.C. Van Fonden.